In April, Housing NSW ran a two-month rental amnesty inviting public housing tenants to declare any undisclosed income or financial assets.
Tenants who declared their assets were assured of the following conditions;
- they will not be charged back rent,
- they will not be evicted due to information provided under the amnesty, and
- they will not be prosecuted.
NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton said the amnesty discovered $48 million in undeclared assets and generated more than $2.5 million dollars in extra rental income.
“I congratulate the 2,300 people who took advantage of the amnesty to declare extra income and assets,” Ms Upton said. “And I thank the 200 people who gave us information about tenants who, they suspected, had not declared income or assets to us.”
Over 1000 tenants declared an average of $26,000 in undeclared income, and nearly 700 declared an average of $60,000 each in assets. Minister Upton hailed the amnesty as a success, allowing the Government to increase rent and allocate revenue to vital public housing projects. Ms Upton also said that public housing properties are being freed up as people who have declared that they own other properties will now be expected to give up their public housing home to live in those properties.
“More than 70 tenants will now pay full market rent and will no longer be eligible for public housing when their tenancy ends”, Ms Upton said.
“This shows the amnesty worked, and I warn tenants that now the amnesty is over, quite substantial penalties can apply, including eviction and back rent.”
Image courtesy State Library NSW / Photographer: Geoff Ambler